By Guest Contributor Andrew Kinder
Although social distancing and lockdown has allowed many of us to get the to-do lists done and have the flexibility of working from home, it has also cut off our social connections. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. You can be surrounded by people and still feel incredibly lonely. As humans we need meaningful social connections and interactions in order to maintain our wellbeing. In our recent podcast with Andrew Kinder he looks at How to address loneliness with his top tips below:
How to cope with loneliness
1 Think about how you can connect with other people – whether it is by video calls or telephone, but also consider in person meet ups where possible and safe to do so as these are key to our wellbeing.
2 Talk to people around you about how you are feeling – this could be in person to someone in your household or to a friend or family member via technology or if you feel able to and it is safe to do so, in person.
3 Be open – If you are surrounded by people the best thing to do is being open about how you are being impacted in an honest conversation. Try to get them to understand the full picture without leaving things out.
4 Resist the temptation to compare yourselves to others – social media posts only show one side of a story and often in a contrived and upbeat version of their lives. If they are impacting your mental health, try to limit your time on social media, unfollow or mute those who are making you feel down, or not use them for the time being.
5 Take up a new hobby or interest – another way to connect with others with this interest in a joint language. For example many people have been baking, and this provides a common interest to talk to your existing friends or family about, or indeed to reach out to new networks in the baking field to talk to about your hobby.
6 Acknowledge how you are feeling – the first step is to recognise that you are feeling lonely because it is only then that you are able to process this and find ways to deal with it.
Ways to improve your mental health generally
7 Getting plenty of sleep – this really helps us to manage our moods and having a good sleep routine is a big factor
8 Avoiding excessive alcohol – can make us more depressed and anxious and can affect our concentration
9 Eating well – making sure your body is being fulled by a good source of food has huge health and mental health benefits. Try and keep your food intake healthy and nutritious as much as possible.
10 Getting plenty of sunlight and fresh air – exercise is good to boost your mood and doing this outside is
11 Note down your stresses and worries in a list – can often make them more manageable and allow you to work out how to deal with them. Try and do this during the bedtime so it doesn’t impact your sleep or have a notepad next to your bed so you can leave them until the morning
12 Do something you enjoy – set aside time for yourself and things you enjoy because you are worth it
To listen to Andrew’s podcasts from Mental Health Awareness Week see below:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Kinder is a Chartered Counselling Occupational Psychologist who is the Professional Head of Mental Health Services, Optima Health. He has published widely on workplace counselling, trauma, coaching and mental health.
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